Like many coaches, I often get asked to teach people how to do butterfly pullups. I know each coach has their own standards of capabilities, but my first question is always “How many regular kipping pullups can you do consecutively?” Often times the number is relatively low.
The biggest reason these numbers are low is because of kipping inefficiency. Kicking legs, loose bellies, lack of hip drive, and a very heavy dependence on raw arm/shoulder/back strength are hallmark signs of an inefficient kip.
There is no real ‘secret’ to the butterfly. In reality, it is a well performed kipping pullup with a recycle that gets you back to the arch position quicker than the standard kip.
The best analogy I can think of is the Front Squat and it’s relation to a Clean. If an athlete lacks the mobility/strength/experience in the Front squat what can we expect out of the Clean? The following work will help you develop this kipping progression… Do not move on to the next step until the previous step is nearly flawless.
Your body should not deviate too far from these two positions…
A) 4 sets of 5 Hollow/Arch Swings
B) 4 sets of 5 Perfect Kipping CTB pullups (no butterfly)
C) 4 sets of 3-5 Perfect Butterfly CTB pullups